The Human Rights Commission condemns the alleged subjecting of a 16 year old boy in Kitwe to torture and other forms of cruel, dehumanising and degrading treatment or punishment and commends the Zambia Police Service for their rapid response towards investigating and arresting the suspects.
The emerging frightening trend of youth gangsters particularly in some parts of Copperbelt and Lusaka Provinces who are victimising individuals is deeply worrying and must decisively be stopped before becoming out of control.
Gangsterism infringes on a wide range of human rights and freedoms. Victims are physically, psychologically, sexually and verbally abused while others are deprived of their property and the right to freedom of movement, security of a person and the right to life are under constant threat and attack.
The reported forcing of the 16 year old boy in Kitwe to eat his own fecal matter and subjecting him to other forms of cruel, dehumanising and degrading treatment or punishment must attract the appropriate punishment of the perpetrators as may be meted out by the courts of law. The Commission therefore looks forward to the due process of the law taking its course, which includes taking the supsects to the courts of law within the legally stipulated timeframe and according them their right to the protection and benefit of the law as enshrined under Articles 13 and 18 of the Bill of Rights.
The Commission also wishes to encourage the police to thoroughly investigate the undercurrents relating to the formation of such criminal gangs of youths and come up with effective measures towards stamping out gansterism. In most cases dehumanising effects of poverty, negative peer pressure and drug abuse are catalysts for such juvenile delinquency manifesting itself in organised criminal gangs. This requires the involvement of everyone in supporting law enforcement officers in preventing and combating organised crime.
In particular, the parents and guadians of such youths have a critical role in providing counselling and guidance and must co-operate with law enforcement officers in the process of reforming the youths through the established criminal justice system.
The Commission also commends members of the public for their continued support to the Zambia Police Service in maintaining security by identifying and reporting the perpetrators in order to create a conducive environment for all law-abiding individuals to freely operate and live.
The Commission is concerned about such acts of lawlessness because breakdown of law and order grossly undermines the enjoyment of human rights and freedoms. Maintainace of law and oder and respect for human rights and freedoms are two sides of the same coin and must always be maintained and respected for the betterment of everyone in society.
[The Human Rights Commission is a National Human Rights Institution established under Article 230 of the Zambian Constitution (Amendment) Act No. 2 of 2016 with an overall mandate of ensuring that the Bill of Rights is upheld and promoted]
HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION